Chanel No. 5 and the Big Bang by David Olsen

Open a vial of perfume. Let it breathe
into the room. Sniff here and there
to confirm that a whiff of scent

pervades the space as the tincture’s
molecules race with heady pace
relative to their infinitesimal size.

Open an empty vial in the scented room,
and little perfume invades the bottle.
Dispersal is not reversed. Randomness –

entropy – drives the universe,
where galaxies of gas and dust
and stars and nebulae infuse

infinite space in a whirl of angular
momentum and the mutual
attraction of gravity. Now

consider another mutual attraction:
a random smile might ignite another
and another. Let there be light.


David Olsen’s Unfolding Origami (80pp, 2015) won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. Poetry chapbooks from US publishers include Sailing to Atlantis (2013), New World Elegies (2011), and Greatest Hits (2001). His work appears in leading journals and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. A playwright and poet with a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, David was formerly an energy economist, management consultant, and performing arts critic. He has lived in Oxford since 2002.

Fiction                                                                            Issue Sixteen                                                                            Next